This season, ‘American Idol’ is going home

The new season of American Idol — which is technically its 22nd — gets underway February 18 on ABC, and host Ryan Seacrest says this time around, the show is going home. Or at least, back to Lionel RichieLuke Bryan and Katy Perry‘s homes.

“We’re taking all of the judges back to their roots, back to their hometowns, and doing auditions in those hometowns,” Seacrest told ABC Audio about what viewers can expect. “Which has been great. I mean, Luke Bryan on his high school stage, where he performed in high school. Katy in Santa Barbara, Lionel back in Alabama … so I think that’ll be something that’s really interesting for the viewers to see.”

More specifically, the auditions will take place in Los Angeles, Nashville, Luke’s hometown of Leesburg, Georgia; Lionel’s hometown of Tuskegee, Alabama; and Katy’s hometown of Santa Barbara, California.  Katy has said this will be her last year on American Idol; the current judging panel has been at it for seven seasons.

Last season’s winner, Iam Tongi, has since released an EP and several singles, and toured with fellow contestant Oliver Steele. Meanwhile, former Idols continue to make their mark.

Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Hudson both have their own talk shows; Kelly was also recently nominated for a Grammy for her most recent album. Meanwhile, Fantasia is starring in the new movie version of The Color Purple, Chris Daughtry just topped Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Airplay chart and Carrie Underwood has a successful Las Vegas residency at Resorts World. 

Plus, Benson Boone, who made it to the Top 24 in Season 19 before dropping out of the show, currently has the #3 single on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Beautiful Things.”

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